Widespread support for more restrictive gun measures, polls say

File photo by Pat Sullivan/AP

A range of polls released on Thursday suggest most Americans back President Obama’s push for more restrictive gun control measures.

According to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 56% of Americans say laws governing the sale of firearms should be more strict, 35% say these laws should stay the same and 7 % say the laws should be less strict.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll, taken before the president’s recommendations, shows 74% of Americans favor a ban on assault weapons while only 26% oppose. The question of ammunition produced similar results: 74% of Americans favor a ban on high capacity ammunition clips and 26% oppose. The same poll found 86% like the idea of expanded background checks for all would-be gun buyers, even at gun shows and through private sales. Only 14% opposed.

The CBS News/New York Times poll emphasizes the bipartisan support behind a requirement for background checks on all gun purchases. Out of Democrats, 93% support background checks. And out of Republicans, 89% support them. In households with members of the National Rifle Association, 85% are for more background checks.

NRA chief David Keene conceded they would be okay with tighter background checks. But, he said, too much emphasis is being placed on guns themselves in the national dialogue. “The real question that needs to be addressed is not what we do about guns, but what we do to make our schools safer,” Keene argued on CBS This Morning.

Vice President Biden, a major advocate of the now-expired federal assault weapons ban in 1994, said on Thursday the American people can stand up to the powerful gun lobbyists: “There are some who say the most powerful voice in the debate belongs to the gun lobbies and those who demand a stop to these common sense approaches to save lives. I think they’re wrong. This time, this time will not be like the times that have come before. Newtown has shocked the nation.”